My last blog post, The Magic Formula + The Show Up For Your Life Experiment, lit more people’s fire than I could have hoped for, which is fabulous! In case you haven’t read it, the short story is I researched a bunch of people in various fields who rock their businesses and creativity to learn what they were doing that created their flow and success. I found The Magic Formula they were each tapped into was simple: They showed up!
But, like I said at the end of the last post, showing up is the main thing they all do, but it’s not the only thing I saw that they had in common. Here are a few other things I learned from my observations that I hope you can experiment with putting into play to experience greater flow, fire, and success.
1. Be passionate about what you do + do what you’re passionate about.
Being self employed +/or a creative means you’ll work a lot. More than 40/hours a week, likely. But it often doesn’t feel like “work” – it feels like what you WANT to be doing… when you’re passionate about it. Call it zest, fire, spark, commitment, pluck, or whatever you want – the people I observed had it in spades and it clearly radiated through them, into everything they did, and kept them going when the other guy had called it quits. It also has an undeniable magnetic appeal that attracts because it inspires.
2. Support others + give generously.
We’re in this game of life together and no matter what your offering is, at its core, it’s here to support others. The people I observed GOT this and gave abundantly to their audiences which had a further magnetic effect pulling people towards them. They were in touch often, shared what was inspiring them, revealed what they were up to, passed along things they were learning, shared their mistakes, offered deals, gave away free business information, made forms and questionnaires they’d created available, celebrated those they worked with and for, and, bottom-line, were generous in who they were being.
3. Know when you’re working and when you’re not.
Being your own boss is a lot like being in school where you always have homework hanging over your head and you’re never 100% free. There’s always something more you could be doing or creating so you need to decide when you’re working and when you’re not. I covered this in my last post, but these people have schedules. Most are up at at it by 7 and have clear routines that help them be efficient, productive, and balanced. So, that said – when you’ve committed to work, WORK. Have a plan ahead of time where you know what you’re going to do and get to it! You’ll be so glad you did because when your personal time comes, you’ll feel satisfied and freed up to enjoy the other parts of your life that feed you.
4. Get organized.
There are 2 sides to every business. One is the service or product you offer. The other is the admin/marketing side. No matter how great your service or product is, if you slack with your admin work (contacts organized, emails replied to, newsletter list, be in regular touch with your clients, etc.), your offering will only go so far. The people I observed had rocking back-sides to their business flow and having those systems in place is a lot of what set them apart. It made their clients feel well cared for and it freed up their energy to focus on the other parts of their business. So, embrace the details because being disorganized scatters your energy and hinders your ability to move forward.
5. Don’t be lazy.
You can be the most talented, beautiful, or smart person in the world, but if you’re lazy, your endeavor won’t have the energy it needs to fly. The people I observed are committed and ON IT in a way that truly blew me away and made me realize I have – cough cough – been unconsciously lazy in my approach (hence, The Show Up Experiment). Like it or not, the truth is that creation, which encompasses every aspect of life, is work. So whatever it is you’re passionate about bringing forward is going to require you to work hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard work.
6. Get the support you need to do what you do well.
Outsource what you’re not good at. For instance, if creating a marketing plan makes you want to run for the hills or if being scattered or feeding into doubt are traps you fall into, get a coach. If doing admin work puts you into overwhelm, get a part-time assistant or ask a friend who’s good at this what they do and try it for a period of time. Nobody I observed ran a 1-person operation. They all had help. And, often times, they had a lot of help. We’re not meant to do this thing of living alone.
7. You can’t keep milking the same cow.
If you want to expand your business, widen your audience. Everyone I observed consistently found ways to reach out to new groups of people. Networking and collaborating with other similarly focused folk works well. As does being active in community organizations and on social networks. You don’t have to employ every marketing tactic that exists. Pick a few that you like and put your energy into them so that your circle widens through doing things you enjoy.
8. Produce, produce, produce + keep going.
I was amazed by the prolific output and stamina of the people I observed. This was one of the pieces that inspired me to take a closer look at these folks in the first place as we all have the same 24 hours but, clearly they were doing something very different with their time than I was. That said, not everything they created or initiated worked perfectly but they kept showing up, kept creating and kept going… and more often than not, within the sheer volume of what they created, they’d stumble upon a thread of inspiration that did lead to something new, innovative, and wildly fulfilling. And, what was inspiring, is that many of them shared this process with their fans so we got to see that their lives aren’t laced with magic, it’s just that they give more time and energy to their creations and, as a result, more opportunity for inspiration.
One of my favorite quotes on this from the amazing Chuck Close:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”
9. Shine bright + be your unique, amazing self.
If prolific output initially attracted my attention to these people, what HELD my attention was their vibrant energy and the unique and disarmingly real way they shared themselves. For instance, instead of trying to be impressive or “together”, they were, by and large, humorously transparent about their own lives while being focused on giving to others the wisdom their experience, successes, and failures have afforded them. And they each did this their own way, sharing the best of what they had to offer such as vulnerability, humor, warm-heartedness, sassy wit, or fiery encouragement to others to follow their passion. Regardless of their style, what they shared was REAL and people could sense that. A line I’ve heard many times from Chase Jarvis is: Don’t be better, be different. And, from what I saw, this really is one of the keys to success as you can’t succeed being someone you’re not.
10. Own yourself.
Humility is one thing, insecurity is another. You’ve gotten this far with your gifts and passions because you’ve got innate skills and life experience that’s helped you develop your wisdom. Whether your wisdom directly relates to where you’d like to go or not, own it. It’s a big part of what makes you different and valuable in this world and because it’s unique to you, other people will benefit by you sharing it in the ways you feel called. Every person I observed drew from their inner well of wisdom and while they each had different strengths and chose to express themselves in different ways, they shared what they had and inspired those around them to live more fully. And this, beyond whatever actual service or good they provided, was perhaps their greatest offering and most potent key to success.